BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Jeff Skinner scored at 1:50 of overtime and the Buffalo Sabres beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Friday night.
J.J. Peterka and Jordan Greenway also scored for the Sabres, who recovered after giving up a 2-0 lead to improve to 3-0-1 in their last four games. Devon Levi made 32 saves in his NHL debut to help Buffalo pull five points behind Pittsburgh for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
“I thought our guys would work hard to support (Levi) with it being his first night,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “I thought they did a nice job with that, allowing him to get into the game and into a feel of things. He was very good.”
Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox scored for New York, which has lost two straight but pulled three points behind second-place New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division. Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves.
“We were fortunate to get a couple of goals, but we didn’t play well,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “We had one line show up tonight and play hard every shift. That was it and we were fortunate to get a point.”
In the extra period, Skinner gathered the puck after a pass from Owen Power, skated between a pair of defenders and fired a shot past Halak. It was Skinner's 32nd goal of the season.
“They got a little bit of a stick on (the puck), I tried to stick with it,” Skinner said. “It was kind of rolling so I just tried to get some good wood on it, and fortunately it found the hole there.”
Levi, who played at Northeastern University the past two seasons, signed a three-year entry-level contract on March 17.
“It was a dream come true, I’ve dreamt of that moment my whole life,” Levi said. “To have my family and friends here as well who have been dreaming for this moment also their whole lives with me, it’s just incredible to have that support.”
Peterka gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead with 8:40 left in the first period when he buried a no-look backhand pass from Dylan Cozens for his 11th.
Greenway made it 2-0 at 7:39 of the second when he took a pass from Casey Mittelstadt up the right side and one-handed a shot past Halak for his fourth.
Kakko got the Rangers on the scoreboard when he batted a floating puck past Levi after Filip Chytil's shot was blocked wotj 7:43 remaining in the middle period.
Fox tied it 2-2 when he poked a loose puck during a net-mouth scrum past Levi at 9:45 of the third for his 12th.
“We kind of get into the flow of the game and then we start playing but it’s not going to work,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. “That’s not a sustainable way to play hockey. It’s something we’re going to have to get better at and keep improving at.”
Rangers: At Washington on Sunday in the finale of a three-game trip.
Sabres: At Philadelphia on Saturday night to open a three-game trip.
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